Column: Carmel High School Gradfest offers forbidden fruit


The word on the street – or should I say the hallways – of Carmel High School is they were banned because they were so delicious. They were a lunchtime favorite judged to be too unhealthy.

The soft, available-only-at-CHS, chewy cookies that every senior can fondly remember have suddenly disappeared from the daily menu.

Although this columnist has been unable to confirm the urban legend passing from classroom to classroom as to why the cookies are no more, I can confirm the decadent lunchroom lady’s cookies are making a grand return; if only for just one evening.

The famous forbidden cookies are just one of the highlights planned for this year’s Gradfest. The party held each year to keep our seniors safe and give them one final evening together before heading off to follow their dreams.

MaryAnn Williams chairs the 30th anniversary edition of Gradfest. She is quick to recognize and give credit to the founders, Carol and Allan Carlson, Barb Williams and Billie Francis.

“Thirty years later, parents and the business community still come together in a big way to produce a safe and fun event for our seniors,” she said.

MaryAnn is assisted by hundreds of parent volunteers who she said are doing a fabulous job.

They’re volunteers like Kathleen Roop, who is overseeing corporate funding, Gerri Shaffer encouraging parent solicitations and Junior Co-Chair Kimberly Boston-Smith.

“There are so many wonderful people on the committee and all of them are putting in hours and hours of time to make the event the best it can be,” Williams said.

Parents and charitable Carmelites are still encouraged to make a donation. The committee has made it super-easy with a PayPal button available at There you can help the committee reach its goal of raising $24,750.

The money is used to, among other things, fund two extremely popular “cash cubes.” Those are a glass-surrounded closet where the student steps in and tries to grab as many dollar bills as possible while a wind machine blows them wildly about.

It’s a profitable experience for the student inside the cube, but a curious delight for those observing the cash-grabbing techniques deployed.

High School seniors can attend Gradfest from 8 p.m. to midnight May 31. That’s when the CHS freshman cafeteria transforms into Carmel’s version of Disneyland and “Let’s Make A Deal” all rolled into one extremely fun event.

There will even be a cool door prize every fifteen minutes and everything is free, especially the cookies.


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